Friday, February 28, 2014

Using Board Games to Engage Students with Task Cards!

I'm always trying to think about new ways to use task cards since we use them so often.  My students enjoy them, and they will ALWAYS tell me that they prefer task cards over worksheets.  Always.  Hands-down!

On my way to work, I knew we would be doing a set of point of view task cards to reinforce what we have been working on.  I thought about the board games that sat on my shelf, largely unused, and considered how best I could use them in conjunction with the task cards.  I had seen some people play Jenga with task cards before, and I thought that my kids might like to do something similar.  So, we did!

I pulled out Connect Four, Chutes & Ladders, and Candy Lane...All games that the students would know how to play on their own.  Let me tell you, I've never seen 5th graders get so excited about these games!

The rules were simple.  Each group had a set of task cards, and in order to take your turn, each student had to answer a question on one of the cards.  The rest of the group had to agree with the answer before they could move on.  The group also had a recording sheet that they turned in.  Since it was in reading, the students took turns reading the cards orally to practice their reading fluency.  It was a HUGE hit, and so easy!

If you are looking for task cards, hop over to my TpT store to view many free and paid task cards!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Using Task Cards in Interactive Notebooks

I have been debating using task cards in my interactive math notebooks (and I even started creating a few reflection task cards specifically for interactive notebooks before taking time to do some other projects).  Then, I came across Anna's post from Simply Skilled in Second about how she used the cards in reading, and I started thinking about using them in math again.    We have been working on integers, and we were finishing up with comparing and ordering integers.  I wanted them to have some work saved in their notebooks to reference later, but I also wanted to use it as an opportunity for them to show proof of their learning.  So, off to task cards I went!

I started by printing off the task cards four sets of cards to a page.  

Then, I gave each group of four students a stack with all of the task cards (There were 5 quarter sheets of paper with four task cards on each for them to cut apart).  I instructed them to cut them apart and give one card from each piece of paper to each student  in their group.  Therefore, they all ended up with five cards, one from each sheet of cards.

I chose to do it this way so that they all ended up with a different task card, but they were all working on similar type questions.  This made it even more beneficial for them when they had to check each other's work. 

The students glued them on the left side of their notebooks, answered the questions, and justified their answers.  That was a HUGE part of this, and of course some of them had trouble with it.  I am so glad that I required them to justify their answers--writing in math is such a huge focus for us, and they need all the practice they can get.

As I mentioned before, they traded notebooks with someone else in their group and checked to see if they agreed with the answers.  This is where it came in handy to have them all working on different cards.

You could easily differentiate with task cards in the notebooks, too.  Most of my math task cards are differentiated so that students have many different ways to show their understanding!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Using Task Cards for Daily Warm Ups or Reviews

I have often used task cards for daily warm ups by throwing one or two up on the document camera and having the entire class complete it.  I created a set of Valentine's Day Math Task Cards this weekend, and I wanted to use them differently this time around since we have more time to use them, and since they are a review of so many skills.  It's test prep time, so our warm ups are all about review, review, review!

I used the Dollar Spot file folders to put a set of task cards in for each table group (you can read more about the folders at my Task Card Organization post HERE).  I labeled the sections to hold 4 cards each and then put the appropriate numbered cards behind each section.  (The labeled section that you see here has cards 9-12 paper clipped together right behind it).  You don't necessarily have to label them, but I did it so that it's easier for students to see which ones they still need to do.

I put the file folders in an adorable little bin they had at the Dollar Spot (they are the perfect size to hold the folders!) so that they wouldn't get disorganized and were easy for the kids to grab at the beginning of class.  The bin found a nice little spot next to my other task cards.

I then paired the students with another child in their same table group to work on the same 4 cards each day (or you could do 2 or 3 cards depending on how much time you have to devote to your warm up or daily review).  They don't work on the card together (although you could have them do so), they simply share the cards and then compare and check answers at the end of the warm up time.  This gives students some freedom to work at their own pace, since there are four cards divided between two students.  They can also work ahead in their file folder if they have extra time.

We tried this out today, and it worked beautifully!  Tomorrow, they will grab their same folder and select a different set of four cards to work on.  They will still be working on the same SET of task cards, just another range of cards. I love how they are reviewing different skills each day, but changing it up a bit from a normal warm up.

You can do this with absolutely any set of task cards and any subject.  Next month, I am going to put several different sets of task cards in the folders so that they have even more review.

You could easily differentiate it as well with your grouping...put all of the kids who need to review a specific skill in one group, or the kids who need enrichment in another skill in a different group, and they can work on a different set of task cards.

The task cards that my students are working on in these pictures are my Valentine's Day Mixed Math Review Task Cards.

You can see my other math task cards HERE.